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Part 2 - Identify Candidate Pool and Gaps

With the priority key positions determined, identify the candidates from the organization's talent pool who may be part of the succession management effort.  A candidate pool may consist of external candidates (potential hires) and internal employees, early in their careers, from multiple organizational levels and/or with critical competencies.  A candidate pool comprised of multiple organizational levels will ensure a deeper bench strength for the key positions' pipeline.


Part 2 assesses internal competency and staffing resources to identify gaps for filling succession management needs through employee recruitment, development and/or retention.


A comprehensive list of staff or classifications to develop in preparation to fill key positions.

Steps to Accomplish the Deliverable

  1. Identify the candidate pool of employees to be developed to support the bench strength of the priority key positions identified in Part 1. A candidate pool can include the whole organization, or be prioritized down to a particular group(s). NOTE: If the candidate pool reflects a different segment apart from all employees in the organization, succession management strategies need to be developed for both the candidate pool, as well as the whole organization.
  2. Identify any competency gaps in the candidate pool by developing a process to compare potential candidate’s current competencies, against the competencies and preparation they need to effectively assume the key position(s) the candidate is interested in developing for.
  3. Develop an ongoing communication plan to gain and maintain participation in succession management efforts that includes the following goals:

    1. Educate employees on what succession management is, and subsequent succession management strategies available for participation (to be completed in Part 3 - Develop Succession Planning Strategies). 
    2. Gain participation in succession management strategies specific to the candidate pool through targeted advertisements.
    3. Maintain continuous employee engagement and regularly re-advertise succession management strategies.

Tools to Assist with Steps

Step 1

Step 2

Detailed Information to Assist with Steps

Key Terms

Bench Strength - The competence, readiness, and number of successors ready to fill key positions.

Candidate Pool - Pool of employees targeted to participate in formal succession management program for development into key positions.

Succession Management Within The Merit System

As a civil service employer we are required to uphold the merit system. Succession management should never involve any activity that goes against the merit system, such as hand-picking employees to participate in leadership development programs or guaranteeing appointments.

When implementing succession management, inform all employees about succession management activities and use the same objective measures to determine who will participate.  Participation in succession management activities should not be the basis for appointment. The state’s merit system and sound hiring practices should always determine the best candidate for a given position.

It is recommended that assessment and selection processes be documented in order to maintain and uphold objectivity.

Step 1: Identify Candidate Pool

Depending on the formality of your succession management program, or the capacity for the number of candidates that can be accommodated, the program can be all-inclusive, or you may have to prioritize the number of candidates in the program, or criteria for which candidates are eligible to participate in which succession management strategies. While participation in any succession management strategies is always voluntary, a candidate pool can be identified or prioritized down utilizing some or all of the following methods:

  • Consider all employees part of the candidate pool.
  • Identify direct feeder classifications which are closest in eligibility to promote into the key positions identified in Part 1.
  • Include direct feeder classifications and all subsequent feeder classes to ensure deep bench strength throughout the pipeline.
  • Stay within manageable time, scope and resources.

Step 2: Identify Candidate Pool Gaps

Develop an objective process for identifying gaps in the talent pool.  This same process can be used to gauge an employees’ readiness to assume key positions.   A Readiness Assessment PDF ​​  is a common tool used for these purposes.  Readiness assessments are an objective way for an employee and their supervisor to measure, across multiple factors, how ready an employee is to promote to the next level. These assessments help determine appropriate succession management strategies targeting specific skills, such as involvement in a leadership development program, where an employee must demonstrate high potential to benefit from the program.​

Step 3: Develop A Communication Plan

Develop a communication plan that includes:

  • Content/Communication Item - what do you want to convey? Remember to include What's in In It For Me (WIIFM) in your content when possible. 
  • Audience and Purpose - Identify all pertinent audiences who will be receiving the messageCommunication method(s) - Face-to-face, email, poster, flyer, video clip, etc.
  • Delivery Channel- Email, live presentation, poster, website, intranet, etc.
  • Content Creator - The individual who will create the content.
  • Sender -  Ensure employees are receiving the communication from a  valued source, such as their direct manager/supervisor.
  • Scheduled Date  - When will message be delivered?​

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